SB Nation

SB Nation NBA Staff | May 10, 2014

NBA playoff scores, results and highlights from Friday's action

A West Coast shootout

An East Coast brawl and a West Coast shootout. Sounds about right.

Indiana Pacers Recap
Washington Wizards Recap
85 - 63 IND 2-1
Oklahoma City Thunder Recap
Los Angeles Clippers Recap
118 - 112 OKC 2-1
5 things to know
  • Peace for OKC
    "You have to overcome the ups and downs of the game. I thought our guys did a great job of staying focused and overcoming." -- Scott Brooks

    Oklahoma City's 118-112 win over the Los Angeles Clippers will be looked at by many as a shootout when they look at the box score and the gaudy stat lines produced by the game's biggest stars, but in reality Game 3 was two teams who were quite familiar with each other. Kevin Durant was steadfast in getting the ball in areas of the floor where he could be most effective and Russell Westbrook was never deterred in facilitating for others in the flow of the offense. KD's spacing and Westbrook's ball distribution meant that OKC's third-best player would prove to be extremely valuable, as Serge Ibaka had us all reminiscing to his perfect Game 6 performance versus the San Antonio Spurs in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Ibaka's 9-of-10 shooting performance was nearly perfect, but it was the perfect curveball to the four-seam fastball that is Durant and the two-seam fastball that is Westbrook.

    If we're equating Thunder players to pitches in a pitcher's arsenal, then OKC's change-up was Caron Butler. With Westbrook and Durant forcing pick-and-rolls on the strong-side of the court, Butler bunkered in on the weakside corner just waiting for the call to come. Sure enough, as Westbrook or Durant crashed towards the middle off a screen and the defense reacted, a sliver of passing daylight continually opened up. Butler's three triples were key in OKC keeping a slim lead in the second half and the Clippers never found an answer in time. Scott Brooks had all the pitches working, and the strike zone was his to slice and dice.

    Doc Rivers will adjust, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will continue to search for chinks in the armor and Game 4 will be arguably the biggest game in Clippers history. But one can wonder, what if Oklahoma City ever really figures it out? Can they replicate the effort they played at on Friday night? Can they be that poised and efficient on a continual basis? Those are the questions that can keep the rest of the league up at night. -Eddie Maisonet
  • Indiana finally finds itself
    Given the circumstances, Paul George's words doubled as the highest possible compliment. "This," he began in his postgame press conference, "was probably the ugliest game of the postseason."

    He was expressionless as he said it, but inside, he was surely beaming with pride. Indiana's 85-63 win looked like a flashback to January, when George was a rising superstar and Indiana's defense was better than any we'd seen since the 2004 Pistons. Every time the Wizards tried to run, three Pacers were back. Every time they tried to drive, Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi were towering at the rim. Every time they saw a sliver of an opening, the Wizards rushed their shots. It was a dominating defensive display that blew Washington's fairy-tale playoff run into smithereens.

    Perhaps that sounds dramatic, but the postgame scene said it all. John Wall, smarting from a cut sustained beneath his eye in the third quarter, had no strategic answers beyond shots not falling. Nene pointed to the wry smile on his face and said that was the only healthy way to react. Drew Gooden suggested the team became overconfident. Andre Miller noted that the team stood around running too much pick and roll. Bradley Beal had few answers for escaping George's grasp.

    The Wizards will give better effort in Game 4, but they also realize that the sleeping giant has awoken. The Pacers are themselves again, and suddenly, that showdown with Miami we all figured would happen is only two games away from becoming a reality. -Mike Prada
  • OKC's talent wins out
    Scott Brooks' unimaginative offensive sets have been the source of so much consternation during the Thunder's uneven run through the playoffs. When Oklahoma City is struggling, it's plagued by a mess of ugly pull-up jumpers late in the shot clock that seem to come without the slightest intent of finding an easier look.

    But what happens when the shots go in? The Thunder can find a way to win close games just like they did in Game 3 against the Clippers. Up one with just over two minutes left, Russell Westbrook held the ball at the top of the key until there was five seconds left in the shot clock. That's when he rose to fire a pull-up three-pointer that swished through the net. On the next possession, Oklahoma City's offense was similarly stagnant. Westbrook dumped the ball to Kevin Durant with three seconds left on the shot clock, where the newly-minted MVP hit a turnaround fadeaway jumper to essentially ice the Thunder win.

    The process might not have looked pretty, but the result was beautiful. It might seem like coaching does all it can to sabotage the Thunder, but sometimes their talent is simply too overwhelming. -Ricky O'Donnell
  • A return to form
    Pacers gonna Pacer.

    In an ugly, atrocious, save-us-all-from-this-mess game the Indiana Pacers managed to put together a solid second half and walked away with a 2-1 series lead. The game was downright atrocious, leaving little reason to sit around and watch aside from the fact it was the only game on. Shouts to the first round and a cornucopia of series to choose from on a nightly basis.

    In the end, though, this was like watching someone draw a caricature of the Pacers. It was a game framed around the identity they've built, all the artist had to do was highlight and exaggerate the areas we already knew existed. The unimaginative, stagnant offense. The tough defense that welcomes mid-range jumpers and protects the rim like a mother bear its cub.

    Then, when all hope seems lost for both teams, Indiana proved to be the team that could tread the longest. As they have many, many times as a group. Indiana might not be able to survive a seven game series playing this kind of basketball, but they can survive 48 minutes like this if push comes to shove. Now let's lock this one in a vault buried deep in the ground and move on to the next one. -Andrew Garrison
  • 93 shots
    The Clippers (.489 effective field goal percentage) shot much worse than the Thunder (a crazy .595 eFG), yet only lost by six. How? L.A. ended up taking 93 shots from the floor plus another 11 trips to the line. That's more than a dozen more shots than OKC took in total.

    The Clips did it by limiting turnovers to an almost absurd level (six for the game for a 5.5 percent rate) and picking up loads of offensive rebounds (14 in 48 opportunities, close to 30 percent). And L.A. almost did it despite a horrendous defensive effort. When Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combine for 59 points on a .592 eFG and Serge Ibaka goes 9-10 from the floor, you're going to feel it. And feel it L.A. did, wasting its own great offensive night.

    A defense-less bucket brigade is what we all needed to heal after that East game. But hopefully L.A. can clean up its resistance by Game 4 and preserve dreams of a long series. -Tom Ziller

Tonight's Schedule
Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Miami leads 2-0 | 8 p.m. ET, ABC Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers Spurs lead 2-0 | 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

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